Friday, July 10, 2015

Review: Playing To Win By Jaci Burton

Title: Playing To Win (Play-by-Play #4)
Author: Jaci Burton
Published Date: September 4th 2012

Someone’s going to have to let down their guard… 

Football star Cole Riley is notorious for doing as he pleases—on the field and off. He parties hard and fights harder, but if he doesn’t clean up his act, his career is over—so Cole reluctantly agrees to work with image makeover consultant Savannah Brooks. He’s not used to being told what to do, especially by some (admittedly hot) Southern belle. As for Savannah, she’s not convinced she can transform this cocky (and aggressively sexy) force of nature. But she’s determined to give it her best shot. 

When the sparks start to fly, Savannah lays down the ground rules: no personal complications. If she can turn off the tingle she feels every time Cole gives her a hot stare with his gorgeous baby blues, he can turn off his desire as well. But for two people determined to have it all, a hands-off policy can only last so long before one of them yields.

(Synopsis Provided By Goodreads)

Again we are faced with a hard hitting sports superstar. This time around though he might be a little too badass for his career. Cole Riley is in major need of an image rebranding. With the entire league aware of his horrible image and bad publicity, he got lucky when he got drafted this football season to any team. The offer is conditional however, clean up your act and do it fast or you can say goodbye to playing football forever. He didn't expect the consultant he was sent to help him re-invent himself would be hot - let alone have such a sassy and blunt attitude.

This series by Jaci Burton is awesome partly because of the characters she brings to life have depth and partly because we know what we're going to get. From book to book in the series, we get some what of the same type of characters (i.e. athlete, hard working woman, hard headed, softy) but they all still make for a simple and easy read. I wouldn't say these are ground breaking contemporary romances; more so casual reads. The story is told from duo-perspectives, Cole Riley's and Savannah Brooks. I noticed that there were points in the book where it wasn't so clear that the narrator perspectives switched - a little confusing but hardly a turn off from reading the book.

Cole is definitely very set in his ways. I felt like his outlook on life and people was very black and white - first impressions were basically all he needed to judge a situation and sometimes he wouldn't even take into consideration a first impression. The fact that he had to hide a lot of himself from the public and create a fake façade because of the intrusiveness of the media made me sympathetic towards his character and situation. It kind of makes you re-think how much you know about celebrities or 'famous' people. It really broke down why his character was generally moody and paranoid about the public and social situations. As the story progresses, Cole learns to trust people again. I thought his character came full circle in the end!

Savannah's character was the perfect compliment to Cole Riley! She never gave up on his character working with him on all his 'bad' attributes in the media and through all the complications of their imminent love. What I found annoying with her character was her indecision with trusting Cole. When we read from her perspective, we were constantly reminded that dating Cole was a BAD idea. Bad because it wasn't professional and there was always some other deep rooted issues. Now I can understand that if their was trouble and a past you don't want to be reminded of, but it kind of felt like Savannah's character wouldn't have strung readers and Cole along by this excuse. For me, it just seemed out of character and a little annoying. Besides this point though, I thought Savannah was a fun character with loads of personality. She was a strong female lead that held her own against an aggressive guy like Cole!

I rate this book 3 out of 5 stars.
If you read any of Jaci Burton's other romances or any of the other books in the Play-by-Play series, Playing To Win is nothing different. It is a simple, contemporary romance between a hot headed athlete who falls in love for a woman who brings him to his knees. If you're in need of a fast and easy romance that is heartwarming, pick this one up for a read!



  1. I'm not much of a contemporary romance fan, but this story sounds cute. I'm not sure if it will win me over though, since you only gave it a 3/5 rating. I need a contemporary romance to wow me with the characters/plot and make me forget there are not fantasy/paranormal elements involved.

    Dreams @ Once Upon A Dream Books

    1. I definitely think this isn't a MUST READ of contemporary romance. If you are in search for something like that though I highly suggest Tangled By Emma Chase! SO funny and such great writing! Let me know if you're interested in it & if you do read it lets talk about it! ;)

    2. I haven't heard of that one either. But I will be checking both of these guys out. Thank you for the recommendation!

    3. No problem ;) I hope you enjoy it! Let me know if you do?